January 2, 2017


Michael Wilding (1912-1979) b. Westcliff-on-Sea, Essex, England.

Michael Wilding

Michael Wilding was making a living as a commercial artist after leaving school when, in 1933, he joined the art department of a London film studio. Wilding embarked upon an acting career, making his film debut in Bitter Sweet (1933), he then amassed an impressive list of British stage and screen credits during the 1940s. His most memorable screen appearances can be found particularly in affable light comedy roles including Sailors Three (1940), Kipps (1941) and In Which We Serve (1942). Wilding replaced Rex Harrison and teamed up with Anna Neagle to star in a series of very popular ‘London’ films directed by Neagle’s husband Herbert Wilcox, including Piccadilly Incident (1946), The Courtneys of Curzon Street (1947), Spring in Park Lane (1948) and Maytime in Mayfair (1952).

Wilding later featured in two of Alfred Hitchcock’s Anglo-American productions; Under Capricorn (1949) and Stage Fright (1950). From 1952 through 1957, Wilding was the husband of Elizabeth Taylor, and spent five years working in Hollywood under contract to MGM mostly in rather dull co-starring roles, the best being the Pharoah in Michael Curtiz’s The Egyptian (1954). Wilding returned to the UK, and after three years hiatus returned to acting with a supporting role in the PoW escape drama Danger Within (1959). Illness forced Michael Wilding to cut down his film appearances in the late ’60s and in semi-retirement he became a theatrical agent. His last assignment was an uncredited, non-speaking cameo in Robert Bolt’s Lady Caroline Lamb (1972), which co-starred his fourth wife, Margaret Leighton.

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